In Maryland, identity theft can be prosecuted as either a felony or a misdemeanor. It is considered a misdemeanor if someone has been accused of stealing $500 or less from another person, and a felony if the alleged victim has incurred more than $500 in losses. And while most Maryland residents know that they have to remain on guard to prevent being a victim of this epidemic, they may not be aware of some of the steps that they can take to prevent this crime. So here are a few tips that can help citizens keep themselves from becoming a victim of identity theft.
One of the most basic steps someone can take is to make sure their personal documents are safe. Personal documents are papers such as credit card statements, social security cards, birth certificates, medical records and bank account information. These papers should always be locked up in a secure location and never left lying around the home. If these documents need to be destroyed, then it is imperative that they are shredded with a shredder device and never tossed into the garbage after ripping them in half.
Another important step is to only carry around documents that are needed. If there is no reason for someone to carry their social security card with them, then it should remain locked up in their house. The same applies to extra credit cards, medical records or bank statements. If they will not be immediately used, then they should remain locked up safely at home.
Computer passwords are quite common these days and figuring them out is one way that identity thieves can access vital personal information. Many individuals make the mistake of creating passwords that are too easy such as using their name, phone number or birth date. Passwords should always include numbers and other symbols in order to make them harder to figure out.
Preventing identity theft has become extremely important. However, any Maryland resident who has been accused of identity theft may want to speak with a criminal defense firm in order to fully understand the complexity of the charges they are facing.
Source: consumer.findlaw.com, "Steps you should take in preventing identity theft," accessed Sep. 6, 2015